Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spelling Bee extends - Again!

Area Stage has had such success with their production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that they extended it - first with one show this past Saturday, and now through NEXT Saturday!  This production slipped by the major media reviewers, but Alexis Scheer of The Playground saw it.

Via Facebook:
Due to the unprecedented sold out success of last night's performance, Putnam has been extended for one final show next saturday FEB. 6th at 8PM! For ticket reservations please call call 305 666 2078.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is playing at Area Stage, in Coral Gables. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Empire Stage: Making Porn (2 reviews)

Empire Stage makes its debut on the South Florida Theatre Scene with its production of Making Porn, which opened on January 14, 2010.
Michael Lopez directed a cast that included himself, Keith Dougherty, Ryan McFadden, Angel Perez, and David R. Gordon.

Steve Rothaus reviewed for the Miami Herald's Gay South Florida column:
The current Empire Stage production is well acted, and well directed.
... David R. Gordon stars as Jack, a part he first played during Making Porn’s national tour in the late ‘90s. Gordon – a legitimate actor, the show’s producer and also new owner of Empire Stage theater – knows the material well and appears quite comfortable with the adult situations that arise onstage.
Actors Keith Dougherty and Michael Lopez (also the production’s director) are Making Porn veterans. Both appeared in the show’s 1998 South Beach production with Ryan Idol. They play their parts as boyfriends/porn filmmakers with energy and conviction; neither walks through his role.
Perez has the hardest job of all, not having his acting talents obscured by performing the most explicit scenes in the play. Let’s just say it’s a close shave, but Perez manages to pull it off.
Some will find it too explicit, others not explicit enough. But for the sold-out audience on Saturday night, Ronnie Larsen’s play was just right.
J. W. Arnold reviewed for the South Florida Gay News:
Lopez, Dougherty and Gordon are all veterans of previous productions of the show, including the off-Broadway stint, and intimately know their characters, delivering perfect, sometimes emotionally moving performances. Perez is absolutely steamy as Ray and McFadden lends an innocent, almost naïve charm to his Ricky. And Clearwood steals the show later as she eagerly embraces her husband’s new career.

For audiences who are more interested in a cheap thrill than a sophisticated night at the theater—not that Making Porn is overly serious theater despite a nod to the AIDS crisis—there will no disappointments as the boys shed their clothes for what turn out to be outrageously funny sex scenes that play on every stereotype in the porn world.
Making Porn romps at Empire Stage through February 7, 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Scene for January 29, 2010

We've blown through the first month of 2010; where did the time go?  Lots of things to see this weekend, with more just over the horizon; enjoy!


Sins of the Mother opens at Florida Stage and plays through March 7.

still playing:

Come Blow Your Horn opens Friday at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, through Mar 1

Hour of the Tiger opens Saturday at New Theatre plays through Feb 14.

Making Porn plays at the Empire Stage through Feb 14.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical at Actors' Playhouse runs through Feb 7.

Sordid Lives is at The Rising Action Theatre through February 21.

Copenhagen plays at Palm Beach DramaWorks, through Jan 31.

Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play runs through February 7, 2010 at the Caldwell Theatre Company.

Laffing Matterz runs Thursdays-Sundays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, through June.

last chance to see:

Underdog Productions extends In This House Solamente Español, at Barry University's Pelican Theatre through January 31, due to popular demand.

La Cage Aux Folles at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre plays through Jan 31.

Copenhagen plays at Palm Beach DramaWorks, through Jan 31.

passing through:

The Gin Game plays out this weekend only at the Under-the-Bridge Players.

Girls Night, the Musical is at Parker Playhouse through Jan 31.

My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm in Therapy
is at the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach through Jan 30.

for kids:

Jack and the Beanstalk
opens this weekend at Actors' Playhouse and runs through March 27.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns to the Playground Theatre through January 31, 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Theatre: The Hour of the Tiger (3 reviews)

New Theatre premiered Sandra Riley's The Hour of the Tiger on January 22nd.
An American woman immersed in Japan's post Vietnam terrain is tangled between rescuing a geisha from her money hungry master and conquering her own fears.
Ricky J. Martinez directs a cast that includes Kim Ehly, Gwendolyn Lai, Eric Miji, and Christopher Vicchiollo.

Brandon Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
The Hour of the Tiger is a sweet-hearted, well-intended, and thoroughly awful play by Miamian Sandra Riley.
He doesn't like the script. Click through if you want the blow-by blow, but understand I'm understating. So was there anything redeeming in this production?
The actors really shouldn't be judged too harshly for their attempts to bring such material to life, any more than a doctor should be castigated for failing to resurrect the dead.
They do begin to cohere by the second half of the 90-minute show, and Vicchiollo and Miji bring real fire to a final scene that is almost touching.
Michael Martin reviewed for EDGE Miami:
A clever set by scenic designer Yamarys Salomon and gorgeous costuming for the geisha by K. Blair Brown respectively establish an authenticity of locale.

The storyline, however, often becomes predictable leaving little magic for director Ricky J. Martinez to conjure up.

The encouragement of new works by new artists should be supported, an act often commendable by The New Theatre. A finer toothed comb might be utilized, however, in the selection of pieces that are actually ready for full production upon the big stage.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Sandra Riley, a South Florida writer, teacher and director, has been working for two years with New Theatre artistic director Ricky J. Martinez to get The Hour of the Tiger from the page to the Coral Gables theater's stage. In a program note, Riley hints at the developmental process in thanking ``. . . the many friends who suffered through the early drafts and numerous rewrites.''

Though that process may not -- no, make that should not -- be over, The Hour of the Tiger is up and running at New Theatre through Valentine's Day.
The Hour of the Tiger is still too unfocused, weighed down by information that feels awkwardly inserted rather than organic.
On a simple yet lovely set by Yamarys Salomon, with graceful lighting by Travis Neff, effective sound design by Ozzie Quintana and well-chosen costumes (particularly Sanagi's kimonos) by K. Blair Brown, the actors work hard to bring life and passion to Riley's script.
The Hour of the Tiger plays at New Theatre through February 14, 2010.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Backstage with the Bonus Round

Steve Schalchlin of Living in the Bonus Round is backstage at Jim Brochu's Zero Hour when Steven Schwartz stops by.  It's worth a read.

Jim relocated to South Florida from LA a few years back; he staged Zero Hour at the Broward Stage Door, and directed their production of The Odd Couple.  Then he took his one-man show about Zero Mostel on the road until he reached the Big Apple.

Zero Hour is scheduled to close this Sunday - at its current venue. But Jim will be performing his show in NYC a little longer - at the DR2 Theatre in Union Square.  I went to school around the corner from there in the early eighties; brings back memories.

Break a leg, Jim!

Caldwell Theatre: Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play (7 reviews)

The Caldwell Theatre Company opened its production of Lauren Wilson's Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play on January 8, after running it previews from January 3rd, 2010.
The Jekyll and Hyde story told as never before with riotous laughter and consummate frivolity. Come see Caldwell’s favorite comedic actors embody both the upper and lower class British society walking a tenuous tightrope of entitlement and depravity.
Clive Cholerton directed a cast that includes Tom Wahl,
John Felix, Erin Joy Schmidt, Angie Radosh, Amy Elaine Anderson, Wynn Harmon, Lindsey Forgey, Laura Turnbull, and Tiffany-Leigh Moskow.

The Sun-Sentinel has declined to review this production.*

John Lariviere reviewed for
Tom Wahl transitions smoothly from Jekyll to Hyde in a comic style a bit like Jerry Lewis. It is all a question of false teeth and tousled hair, but the change works—and getting there is the fun. Amy Elaine Anderson is lovely as a Rosamunda budding with repressed sensuality. Erin Joy Schmidt is funniest as the Chaplin-inspired Constable. One has to do a double take at Tiffany-Leigh Moskow in the double role of good-evil twin sisters Caliope and Penelope Throckmortonshire. She is a grown, young woman convincingly playing girls about the age of 12. Lindsey Forgey is funny as the fumbling and high strung Irish maid Ivy, and certainly turns in her share of screams of fright. John Felix has the plum role of the show as Lady Throckmortonshire.
The comedy may be a bit too broad and slapstick, however, as at times it looks like a Three Stooges movie. If it is substance you seek, you will find none in this production of Chemical Imbalance, but that is not what they mean to offer. From start to finish, this is a period farce done for fluff and fun.
Mary Damiano reviewed for
...while all hell does not break loose, and hilarity does not ensue, there are some decent laughs.
Wahl, as Dr. Jekyll and his dentally-challenged alter ego Mr Hyde, is fun to watch. He’s a dynamic performer who can do wonders even with a comedy like this, which is not up to his many talents. The play drags when he’s not on stage. But when he is on stage, scenes sing...
Moskow makes a big splash as a Patty McCormack-style bad seed and her angelic twin sister. On stage the college-grad looks like she’s 9 years old, and she and Wahl are responsible for most of the laughs in Chemical Imbalance.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
Chemical Imbalance is balls-out funny from beginning to end. It is also wise, moral, and, in Clive Cholerton's production at Caldwell Theatre, brought to life by a precisely perfect cast.
(The play) dispenses with all of the characters familiar from the Stevenson joint, save Jekyll/Hyde himself (played by Tom Wahl) — I'm guessing because Stevenson's novel was exclusively a boys' club....That musty crew has been transformed into a menagerie of SoFla's most vibrant co-ed thesps...
What actress in the known universe can do frightened mortification so well as Turnbull, whose eyes grow large as moons while her voice withers into a pinched little squeak at the back of her throat? What actor could do a sloppy, slutty old grand dame with half the verve of Felix, whose every drunken swish across the stage looks like an invitation to discover Victoria's Secret in the dressing room after the show? And is there any more deadpan thesp than Radosh...?
Michael Martin reviewed for
...scenic director Tim Bennett abandons reality by providing set pieces, curtains, and props that are strictly two dimensional, establishing an almost cartoonish air. Costume designer Alberto Arroyo continues with Victorian sleeves that are so hugely puffy, they seem to require their own zip codes. Some wigs even mirror the outrageousness of Marge Simpson.
As Henry Jekyll, Tom Wahl masterfully differentiates his two characters, appropriately bestowing upon each their own idiosyncratic behavior. John Felix is perfectly ridiculous as Lady Throckmortonshire, and Wynn Harmon flawlessly assumes the second fiddle role of Xavier Utterson, Jekyll’s cousin and cohort.
Though set, costumes, and cast appear to be in sync for the making of a full night of hilarity, truly clever "funny" seems to only arrive in bits and pieces, rendering the evening a bit imbalanced, as the title implies.
Hap Erstien reviewed for the Palm Beach Post, and the ArtsPaper; he wrote two different reviews reaching the same conclusion. He was more politic in the Post, but the ArtsPaper isn't using some obscure microscopic font. I cribbed from both for this summary: wonders whatever possessed Cholerton to select this witless farce by Lauren Wilson in the first place. Brought east from San Francisco, it pours farce over the classic Robert Louis Stevenson yarn about good and evil lurking within us all, in an adaptation without much purpose or point of view.
Cholerton has again attracted a terrific cast, but few if any manage to escape the experience unscathed.
Tom Wahl plays Dr. Henry Jekyll, as well as his alter ego, the evil incarnate Mr. Hyde, a potential tour de force pair of roles, but his performances are too bland to stand out from the rest of the company
Among the game, but trying-too-hard cast is Erin Joy Schmidt as Jekyll’s Sapphic sister Ambrosia and Angie Radosh as his mom, both upstaged by the wigs Carol Marks has devised for them. John Felix is reduced to a sight gag as Lady Throckmortonshire, though the character gives costumer Alberto Arroyo an excuse to design an amusingly over-the-top frock and hat.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Despite the considerable talent involved in the production, Chemical Imbalance is to finer farces (think Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Michael Frayn's Noises Off) as a tepid sitcom is to Shakespeare.
Director Clive Cholerton and his inventive, comically adept cast try to make Chemical Imbalance as quick and buoyant as possible, and some of the laughs for which they work so hard are deserved.
The performances, though, provide a number of delicious moments -- particularly thanks to Wahl's artful quick changes from Jekyll to Hyde, involving not much more than fake teeth and mussed hair; and Felix's impeccable timing and droll delivery (please, someone, put this man in a Wilde play soon).
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
Under the direction of Cholerton, Caldwell has once again gives its audience a special fun-filled evening — this time with a farce headed by the brilliant Tom Wahl. Wahl, who makes Dr. Jekyll’s notorious strangling, potion-boiling medical man one of the most rib-tickling performances one can remember, is filled with physical comedy skills.
The entire cast must have taken “silly drinks” as it comes from behind the curtain. There are a number of zany characters, including John Felix playing Lady Throckmortonshire in drag, sounding a lot like Tallulah Bankhead on a binge...
Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play runs through February 7, 2010 at the Caldwell Theatre Company.

Mondays Are Dark

Diamond Jubilee
Miami Beach's Colony Theatre turns 75 this month, and tells us about the planned celebration.

Best job in Theater? talks with the literary manager at New Theatre.

Defending the Constitution
Theatres in Colorado are fighting the good fight, according to the LA Times.

Shakespeare: Playwright, Actor...Jewess?
There are many arguments against the Stratford farmer as author of all those plays; but there have been flaws in all the candidates up to this point.  Now the Oxfordian offers up someone not previously considered: the "dark lady of the sonnets," Amelia Bassano Lanier.

And in what is probably a complete coincidence, DramaDaily talks some rarely produced works from Shakespeare's Folio, and links to a whole lot of articles about the Bard's best and worst.

Followed by a Big Bang?
Palm Beach ArtsPaper has a story about Slow Burn Theatre Company; the new kids in town.  They're opening with Bat Boy, The Musical at the West Boca Performing Arts Center in Palm Beach County next month.

A Shout Back
Andrew over at 1st Draft gives us a "big shout out," so we're giving one back.  And a thought for Andrew; perhaps the murder isn't where the story leads us, but what starts us looking into the story in the first place... (and if you, Gentle Reader, don't understand that, then you didn't click the link and read Andrew's blog.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Scene for January 22, 2010

Whups! Things have gotten so busy on the local theatre scene that we're late getting this week's Theatre Scene out. So here it is, better late than never!


Come Blow Your Horn opens Friday at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, through Mar 1

Hour of the Tiger opens Saturday at New Theatre plays through Feb 14.

still playing:

La Cage Aux Folles at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre plays through Jan 31.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical at Actors' Playhouse runs through Feb 7.

Sordid Lives is at The Rising Action Theatre through February 21.

Copenhagen plays at Palm Beach DramaWorks, through Jan 31.

Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play runs through February 7, 2010 at the Caldwell Theatre Company.

Laffing Matterz runs Thursdays-Sundays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, through June.

last chance to see:

Underdog Productions presents In This House Solamente Español, at Barry University's Pelican Theatre from January 14 - 30..

42nd Street plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through Jan 24.

Farragut North plays at GableStage through January 24th.

passing through:

Lansky plays at the Parker Playhouse through Jan 24.

An Enemy of the People plays at the Kravis Center, through Jan 22

Capitol Steps does its thing at the Broward Center through Sunday.

As You Like It comes to the Kravis Center on Saturday and Sunday.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee plays at Area Stage this weekend only.

for kids:

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
returns to the Playground Theatre through January 31, 2010.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Underdog Productions: In This House Solamente Español (reviews)

Underdog Productions opened In this House Solament Español on January 14 at Barry University's Pelican Theatre. It features two plays written and performed by Chris Perez and Elena Maria Garcia.
...a journey of two stories about generational clashes. Flying Lessons takes you on a journey through a father's mind as he confronts the memory he refuses to accept. Do You Speak Mexican shoves you into the back of a 1978 stage wagon with the windows barely cracked, full of homemade styling gaucho, Farah Fawcett- do and a freak's perspective of what if feels like to get your ass kicked just because you pronounce your "foreign" name correctly in that land far away called,...Broward.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Minimally produced, with just a few chairs, simple lighting and snippets of music to help with the storytelling, both shows depend on the actor-authors' ability to make the audience see -- and more importantly, feel -- the joys and challenges of forging a new life in South Florida of the not-too-distant past.
Perez's Flying Lessons is the better crafted piece, a play born more of imagination than pure autobiography.
Under Garcia's direction, Perez performs Flying Lessons with both bombast and restraint, a dramatically effective combination.
Do You Speak Mexican?, directed by Gail Garrisan, is Garcia's keenly observed but far less polished play about the ongoing cultural trauma she endured after her family relocated from Miami-Dade County to Broward when she was a kid.
Though much of Do You Speak Mexican? is fun to watch -- Garcia is an always-energetic performer who slips effortlessly into both sides of a conversation with her cooking-obsessed mother and her wounded younger self -- the play needs more cutting and shaping, more sharpening of the message underneath the laughs.
Underdog Productions presents In this House Solament Espanol through January 30 at Barry University's Pelican Theatre.

Actors' Playhouse: The Great American Trailer Park Musical (3 reviews)

Actors' Playhouse opened its production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical on January 15, 2010.
Called a mix between South Park and Desperate Housewives, this campy, sexy, bawdy, R-Rated musical fable is seasoned with murderous ex-boyfriends, Costco, the Ice Capades, and a stripper on the run who comes between a Dr. Phil-loving agoraphobic housewife and her toll-booth collector husband. With a chorus of trailer park divas residing in Armadillo Acres, an exclusive Florida mobile home community, this escapist, fun musical ranges across the American Radio dial from country to blues to rock to disco to bump n' grind to R&B. With music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Bestey Kelso.
David Arisco directed a cast that included Stacy Schwartz, Margot Moreland, Stephen G. Anthony, Kelly Atkins, Meghan Moroney, Gwen Hollander and Christopher A. Kent.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
When amplified by the talents of actors of the caliber of Margot Moreland and Kelly Atkins, Trailer Park's selective misanthropy could become the highlight of your week. I enjoyed the hell out of Moreland's interpretation of agoraphobia — the way her muscles seem at war with each other as she takes step by excruciating step from the safety of her doorframe. Atkins's pole dance defies gravity, and I doubt I've ever seen a performer be so slatternly and so likeable at the same time.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Is it humanly possible to find more laughs (both deserved and cheap) in the show than Arisco and company have? Highly doubtful.
Though both its score and story are short on cleverness, the Actors' Playhouse version of The Great American Trailer Park Musical is greater than the sum of its parts because of the talent involved.
Moreland and Anthony find moments of wit and poignant touches in what would otherwise be two-dimensional characters. Moroney, Schwartz and Hollander are deft comic actors and dancers (the clever choreography is by Chrissi Ardito), and their blended voices sound killer under Eric Alsford's musical direction. Atkins' sympathetic Pippi becomes more than a sexy home wrecker (who happens to look great in Ellis Tillman's minimalist costumes), and her athletically impressive pole dance would be the envy of many a real strip club entertainer. Kent plays Duke with lunatic abandon, though he's a wee bit mature for the role, for reasons we won't reveal.
Michael Martin reviewed for
Kelly Atkins amazes as she slithers through an exotic pole dance while belting out "The Buck Stops Here", sometimes even hanging upside down while doing so.
Margot Moreland and Stephen G. Anthony share a special moment in "Owner of My Heart!", and prove why each owns more than one Carbonell Award for best performance.
Musical Director Eric Alsford evokes beautifully tight three-part harmonies from Moroney, Schwartz, and Hollander, and choreographer Chrissi Ardito creates a bit of fun with some plunger props in "Flushed Down the Pipes".
The Great American Trailer Park Musical plays at Actors' Playhouse through February 7, 2010.

Maltz Jupiter Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles (2 reviews)

La Cage Aux Folles opened at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre on January 12, 2010.
Bonne Soiree! Welcome to glittering world of La Cage aux Folles, winner of the Tony Award® and one of the all time biggest Broadway hits! Featuring beautiful "show-girls," a delightful score by Jerry Herman and colorful production numbers, this musical features the memorable songs, The Best of Times and I Am What I Am, and explores what it is to be a family, to love without condition, and above all, to be proud of who we are. Adult subject matter.
Mark Martino directed a cast that includes John Scherer and Mark Jacoby.

John Lariviere reviewed for Talkin'
This production of La Cage Aux Folles at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre features spectacular choreography by Denis Jones.
Mark Jacoby is wonderfully warm as Georges... John Scherer is quite grand as Zaza, and undeniably gives a powerful performance of "I Am What I Am" in one of the best moments of the show...
With extraordinary dancing, memorable songs and great humor, this La Cage aux Folles is a wonderfully entertaining evening.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach Post:
However you feel about La Cage’s politics, the show is enormously audience-friendly. But it calls for so much show business glitz and pizzazz that it requires a theater with the resources of a Maltz Jupiter to carry it all off.

Succeed it does, though, thanks to director Mark Martino, choreographer Denis (cq) Jones and their designers, the team that levitated The Boy Friend here a few seasons ago. And thanks to John Scherer and Mark Jacoby, Broadway veterans who reinvigorate the central roles of aging gays Albin and Georges, the longtime partners facing the dilemma of a thankless child.
Interspersed with the story are the onstage club antics of The Cagelles, the gymnastic chorus of is-he-or-isn’t-she performers who strip down to their scanties and still keep their sexual identities a relative mystery. Between Jones’s dance steps, Jose M. Rivera’s sparkle plenty costumes and Gerard Kelly’s oversized wigs, you could be well entertained without paying any attention to the show’s plot.
...delivers exactly what we could all use about now, a big, splashy slice of escapism. And if you take away a message about family values, that would be fine too.
La Cage Aux Folles plays at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through January 31, 2010.

Mondays are Dark

Well, it's finally warm enough that we can feel our toes.  So find a sunny spot on the patio and enjoy your Monday reading list!

Double Header
When was the last time you saw two shows in a day?  Charles Isherwood of the New York Times tells us about his recent adventure.

The List
Terry Teachout examines TCG's list of the ten most-produced plays in the first decade of the 21st Century, and finds the results hopeful:
This suggests that, Broadway producers notwithstanding, American theatergoers are not know-nothing neanderthals but intelligent people who are prepared to spend time and money grappling with straight plays that are artful, thoughtful and well written.
But when he peruses the list of the 75 most-produced plays of the past decade, he becomes alarmed;
As for the celebrated playwrights of the past who didn't make the cut, the list is alarmingly long. No Samuel Beckett, no Bertolt Brecht, no Anton Chekhov, no Georges Feydeau, no Henrik Ibsen, no William Inge, no Eugène Ionesco, no Arthur Miller, no Clifford Odets, no Eugene O'Neill, no George Bernard Shaw, no Aristophanes or Euripides or Sophocles, no Rodgers and Hammerstein or Frank Loesser or Lerner and Loewe . . . no history, in other words.
Contrast this to David Byrne's worry that we're too mired in the past...of course, Byrne's examples were all opera and ballet.

Speaking of Popular Plays
Part of Mad Cat Theatre's First Folio is playing this Wednesday at the Colony Theatre; Sheperd's Pie is part of the South Beach Comedy Festival - The Fort Lauderdale Theater Examiner has the latest story on this production.

More Website Feedback
Theatre patrons discuss the new website for Spiderman: The Musical on All That Chat.  And they don't like it.

Mirror, Mirror...
At 1st Draft, playwright Andrew Rosendorf is feeling...unread.
Thank you internet for ensuring that I write my blog on time. The adoring public that I know is out there is thankful. And by the adoring public I mean the people that read this blog. And by the people that read this blog I mean those of us at Florida Stage. And by those of us at Florida Stage I mean myself when I click on the link after it shows up on the “Google Alerts” notification I have…on myself.
Don't feel sad, Andy. We're reading you.

"Essentially Broken"
The Playgoer talks about a book about the relationship between playwrights and theaters.

The Dude Abides
Courtesy of Moxie the Maven, we see how The Great Lebowksi might have gone had it been writen by the Bard. Run Leia Run presents Two Gentlemen of Lebowski.

Meanwhile... Palm Beach, the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Final Day for Phantom

Phantom of the Opera has only two more performances before the show packs up its 20 tractor-trailers of props, costumes and scenery and heads out of South Florida. There are still lots of tickets available at the Broward Center website. And with this weather, it's a good day to see a show. See Broadway World for some background on this legendary production.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shakespeare under the Stars

The Coconut Grove Grapevine reports on Shakespeare Miami's latest project, Taming of the Shrew.  Includes photos.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Scene for January 15, 2009

Before we talk about the plays, there are some fundraisers to consider: Alliance Theatre is having a scavenger hunt on January 14th, which is today, which means there's still a chance to join the fun. Then there's Mosaic Theatre's Monte Carlo Night on January 16. It's your chance to play cards with World Series of Poker contestant and Richard Jay Simon, artistic director of Mosaic. Buy tickets, or sponsor a whole table. No rule says you can't do both.

It's a busy weekend for openings; four productions come to local stages.


Underdog Productions presents In This House Solamente Español, at Barry University's Pelican Theatre from January 14 - 30. Yes, that's home to the Naked Stage. They don't have a website, so Visit their website, or go to The Playground for more information. Or The Drama Queen. Everyone's talking about this show.

La Cage Aux Folles opens this weekend at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and plays through Jan 31.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical opens Friday at Actors' Playhouse and runs through Feb 7.

Hour of the Tiger opens at New Theatre on Saturday, and plays through Feb 14.

still playing:

Farragut North plays at GableStage through January 24th.

Copenhagen plays at Palm Beach DramaWorks, through Jan 31.

42nd Street plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through Jan 24.

Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play runs through February 7, 2010 at the Caldwell Theatre Company.

Laffing Matterz runs Thursdays-Sundays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, through June.

last chance to see:

The Storytelling Ability of a Boy finishes its run at Florida Stage plays on Sunday Jan 17, 2010.

passing through:

The Phantom of the Opera
winds up its run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts this Sunday, Jan 17.

Shakespeare Miami presents The Taming of the Shrew at The Barnacle State Park in Coconut Grove. Through Sunday.

for kids:

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
returns to the Playground Theatre through January 31, 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Playground on the Tube

The Playground Theatre's Stephanie Ansin is scheduled to appear on NBC6's morning news show this Thursday, January 14th.  She's plugging their current production, The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

Mondays are Dark

THey tell us the cold snap is over...but I'm still wearing my longjohns. Here's your Monday reading list.

Hellavu St. Patty's Day - in January..
...Or, Barry The Money Launderer, his Costa Rican - American femme-fatale, and a Bunch of Miami Kids Tell Us What It Is To Be Irish.'s Mary Damiano has a tête-a-tête with Paul Tei, founder of Mad Cat Theatre. The scrappy little theatre company that can is re-mounting one of their early hits this month at the Colony Theatre as part of the South Beach Comedy Festival.

Split Personality
Clive Cholerton's next project at Caldwell Theatre is a new tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Chemical Imbalance; a Jekyll and Hyde Story. BroadwayWorld lists a cast that's ridiculously full of talent; besides Tom Wahl as Jekyll/Hyde, there's John Felix, Erin Joy Schmidt, Angie Radosh, Amy Elaine Anderson, Wynn Harmon, Lindsey Forgey, Laura Turnbull, and Tiffany-Leigh Moskow. The Drama Queen describes it as "over-the-top nuttiness here -- a kind of farce-meets-horror flick vibe." Hap Erstein spoke with Tom Wahl for the Palm Beach Post.

Three Firsts
Well, actually, it's just the first word on First Stage from 1st Draft. Florida Stage's blog announces the lineup for the fourth annual 1st Stage New Works Theatre Festival. Say that three times fast.

Rednecks Rising
The Miami Theatre Examiner reports that Actors' Playhouse is bringing us The Great American Trailer Park Musical, describing it as a mix between South Park and Desperate Housewives. Meanwhile, The Fort Lauderdale Theatre Examiner tells us that Rising Action Theatre is putting up Sordid Lives.

Alice in Lone Star Land
Talkin'Broadway reports that the musical Wonderland leaves Tampa for the Alley Theatre, in Houston Texas. South Florida native Janet Dacal stars as Alice in this show created by South Florida native Frank Wildhorn.

...He's Gotta Wear Shades
Hap Erstein interview Louis Tyrell for Palm Beach ArtsPaper. Tyrell, Producing Director and founder of Florida Stage, is enthusiastic about the upcoming move to the Kravis Center.

Stop Looking Back
David Byrne (yes, THAT David Byrne) reads about how one opera company committed to a 32 million budget for a new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, and gets Los Angeles County to bail them out when they fall far short of raising the funds.
I think maybe it’s time to stop, or more reasonably, curtail somewhat, state investment in the past — in a bunch of dead guys (and they are mostly guys, and mostly dead, when we look at opera halls) — and invest in our future. Take that money, that $14 million from the city, for example, let some of those palaces, ring cycles and temples close — forgo some of those $32M operas — and fund music and art in our schools.
The gist of the argument; it's more important to teach kids to be creative, than to spend huge amounts of monies on reviving old works. Look at it this way: the "classic works" we celebrate now, we celebrate because they marked a drastic change from the market they were playing in at the time: they were cutting edge new works. It's worth discussing.

Indigenous Growth
David Dower of the New Play Blog is inspired by an article Paul Mullin put up on his blog, Just-Wrought. Paul is pushing regional theatres to offer more "locally grown" plays, specifically, he wants Seattle theatres to produce plays by, well, Paul Mullin. And his friends. Who live in Seattle. David Dower suggests that there's nothing wrong with Chicago theatres producing plays created in Chicago, and New York producing New York, and so on.

And here we are in Miami, where we're already feasting on locally grown theatre. Mad Cat grows it in their own greenhouse, while GableStage, New Theatre, Caldwell, Florida Stage and Naked Stage have all harvested local talent. Although, in some cases, the fare doesn't necessarily have a local "flavor." Comments? (Be polite!)

Do You Hate Your Patrons?
MissionParadox is surprised to discover how many theatres resent their audiences.

Maybe We Should "Eat Sandwiches"
The Guardians Theatre Blog opines that it's time to end smoking onstage. I mean, if How I Met Your Mother could find a... suitable... replacement for discussing drug abuse of our parents, so can that shrink in Agnes of God.

Meanwhile, In Palm Beach...
...the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed. To speak on behalf of saving a theatre space no theatre producer in South Florida seems to want, the Theatre Guild imported Evans Haile, who runs a theatre that isn't surrounded by about 30 producing regional companies. Curious that Patrick Flynn can't get any of the local experts who successfully produce in South Florida to speak on behalf of the Royal Poinciana Playhouse.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

4th Wall Collapses

From an authoritative news source, The Onion:
Audience members at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts are reporting that, oh God, no, approximately 20 extremely enthusiastic actors are approaching the edge of the stage and appear determined to continue their current musical number in the main seating area.

"Oh, man, are they? Shit," one audience member was overheard saying as the energetic ensemble began filing down previously unseen stairs and past the front row. "Shit, shit, shit."
"Why can't we just watch the play?" a female audience member asked a man who is possibly her husband. "When I saw this with Diane in New York, I swear, David, I swear they didn't do this."
Updates as they become available.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Scene for January 8, 2010

While you might be expecting snow any day now, this is still South Florida. And the good news is that you have a lot of choices of plays to warm up to during this cold snap.

Don't forget Mosaic Theatre's Monte Carlo Night on January 16. It's your chance to play cards with World Series of Poker contestant and Richard Jay Simon, artistic director of Mosaic. Buy tickets, or sponsor a whole table. But if casino gaming isn't your thing, Alliance Theatre is having a scavenger hunt on January 14th.


Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play opens Friday at the Caldwell Theatre Company and runs through Feb 7.

still playing:

Farragut North plays at GableStage through January 24th.

Copenhagen plays at Palm Beach DramaWorks, through Jan 31.

The Storytelling Ability of a Boy plays at Florida Stage plays through Jan 17, 2010.

42nd Street plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through Jan 24.

Laffing Matterz runs Thursdays-Sundays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, through June.

passing through:

The Phantom of the Opera
plays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through Jan 17.

South Pacific plays at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, through Jan 10.

Millions of Miles
plays Friday through Sunday at the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach. It's a new play by Elliot Taubenslag, featuring Avi Hoffman, Michael McKeever, Sally Bondi, and Stephanie Simon.

for kids:

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
returns to the Playground Theatre through January 31, 2010.

The Little Prince plays at Sol Children's Theatre through January 10.

Seussical the Musical at Showtime Dance & Performing Arts Theatre, through January 9, 2010.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kravis Center: South Pacific (2 reviews)

The National tour of South Pacific sweeps into the Kravis Center this week. This grand musical hadn't been seen on Broadway for an entire generation when Bartlett Sher mounted his revival in 2008.
Set on a tropical island during World War II, the musical tells the sweeping romantic story of two couples and how their happiness is threatened by the realities of war and by their own prejudices. The beloved score includes “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “This Nearly Was Mine” and “There Is Nothin' Like A Dame.”
Bartlett Sher directs a cast that includes Jason hower, Carmen Cusack, Gerry Becker, Genson Blimline, Christina Carrera, Anderson Davis, Sumie Maeda, CJ Palma, Peter Rini, Rusty Ross, Matthew Saldivar, Keala Settle, Christopher Carl, Eric L. Christian, Jacqueline Colmer, Mike Everiste, Kate Fahrner, Nicholas Galbraith, Alexis B. Holt, Chad Jennings, Christopher Johnstone, Kristie Kerwin, Jodie Kimura, Joe Langworth, Maxine Linehan, Diane Phelan, John Pinot Jr., Travis Robertson, Josh Rouah, Tally Sessions, Kristen J. Smith, Matt Stokes, Gregory Williams, and Victor J. Wisehart.

Jan Sjojstrom reviewed for the Palm Beach Daily News:
It's not easy to make a musical so familiar that most people can hum every tune come alive so that it seems as though everything is happening for the first time. But that's true of the Bartlett Sher-helmed Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific playing at the Kravis Center.
At its heart is an electric couple: the American hick Nellie Forbush, played winningly by Carmen Cusack, and the dashing French plantation owner Emile de Becque, portrayed by a big-voiced Jason Howard.
The choreography is crisp and inventive. The sets — especially the bamboo-like screens that roll up and down and capture magical lighting effects — are simple but seductively atmospheric.

Above all, the voices do not disappoint. Cusack's sunny soprano is fluid and controlled, Howard's baritone resonant and rich, and Davis' tenor clear and muscular. The choruses are brawny and disciplined. The orchestra is a full-blooded band, not a couple of instrumentalists cushioned in electronic effects.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper and the Palm Beach Post. But it only counts once!
...the glory of this reverential, but hardly museum-like, revival has arrived at the Kravis Center with its theatrical power very much intact.
This production has no recognizable names*, but it is exceptionally well-cast. Carmen Cusack, who has been toiling for the past two years in green makeup in various companies of Wicked, is a sublime “knucklehead” Nellie, vocally very reminiscent of Mary Martin, who originated the role. As is the tradition, Emile comes from the world of opera, but Jason Howard has the acting chops -- as well as the lung power -- to embody the character completely.
Michael Yeargan’s tropical scenic design still impresses and you will love the way Donald Holder’s lighting hits the backdrop and Bali Ha’i magically appears out of the mist and clouds. will regret it if you do not see this production this week.
South Pacific plays through this Sunday only at the Kravis Center: don't miss it!

* Well, some of us recognize Tally Sessions from Beauty and the Beast, Urinetown, Flloyd Collins, and The Spitfire Grill.

GableStage: Farragut North (5 reviews)

GableStage opened its production of Farragut North by Beau Willimon on December 26, 2009.
During a tight presidential primary race, a wunderkind press secretary's meteoric rise falls prey to the backroom politics of more seasoned Washington operatives. This Off-Broadway smash is an inside look into the world of politics ~ an intriguing tale about loyalty, obsessive lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it.
Joseph Adler directs a cast that includes Nick Duckart, Betsy Graver, David Hemphill, Deborah Sherman, David Sirois Robert Strain, and Gregg Weiner

J.W. Arnold reviewed for
In 1993, fresh off the Clinton victory and inspired by the likes of young politicos George Stephanopoulos and Dee Dee Myers, I, too, made the trek across the country to Washington, D.C. And, like so many others, I found myself opening mail and answering phones before landing a position as press secretary to a Congresswoman from Tennessee. This firsthand experience in the ways of Washington drew me to Beau Willimon’s Farragut North, the political drama that recently opened at Joseph Adler’s GableStage.
Duckart delivers a solid performance—he must ultimately carry the slow-moving play—but never quite achieves the narcissistic bravado that I have seen in these politicos. Duckart finally makes the role his own, though, as doubts begin to creep into (his character)’s mind...
Gregg Weiner shines as Paul Zara, the loyal veteran of decades of campaigns... Betsy Graver also stands out as Molly, a sexually-empowered 19-year-old intern, who is completely underestimated by her male supervisors.
Director Adler makes no bones about his support for Democratic politics and that passion shows in virtually every aspect of his strong production. The GableStage production, coming in an off-year in the political cycle, doesn’t seem very timely, but it would have been a bigger shame if Adler had waited until 2012.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
...the GableStage production is never less than entertaining, largely because of the crafty cast. Duckart, who emerged last year in the Caldwell’s Whipping Man and Mosaic’s Why Torture Is Wrong, gives his best performance yet as Bellamy, oozing charisma and easy-to-identify-with fallibility. The always enjoyable Weiner devours the role of sage, hot-tempered Paul and Sherman brings a valuable ease to the small, but pivotal role of the reporter.
Adler has a good eye for fledgling talent and he has another discovery in Graver, who becomes more dimensional as the character of intern Molly evolves in complexity. And keep an eye on Hemphill, who makes a lot of a character that spends most of his time listening
Sean McClelland works his usual magic, devising seven distinct locales on GableStage’s wide, narrow playing space.
Farragut North is not a great play, but you would never know that from the terrific production it is receiving in Coral Gables.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times; This isn't one of Brandon's better efforts; we really never get a sense of where the script ends and the production begins. This is the sole paragraph that deals with the production before us:
Joseph Adler directs his cast with feeling and anger. In most scenes, they spit their lines at each other with a ferocity that would seem out of place if they were having the same conversations under saner conditions. Deborah Sherman's Ida Horowicz is a shark with legs, and Nick Duckart's Stephen is the ugliest and most damaged creation to jangle across this stage all year.
Virtually the entire thing is a blow-by-blow of the script, with nary a mention of what the actors, director, and creative team brought to it. For example, this segment:
But then comes a moment of apparent honesty. Discussing the candidate, Paul seems genuinely moved. Weiner's Paul — speaking in a deep, rich drawl as edibly smoky as Grandma's gumbo — outlines how Morris's campaign will spread a message of change and hope from sea to shining sea.
Does this spring solely from the script, or is it something that Adler and Weiner discovered? Is Brandon telling us the prior scenes fail to ring true, and if so, is that failure due to the script, or to Adler's interpretation through his actors? We can't tell from this review.

If this was a film, it wouldn't matter so much, because everyone in the world would be seeing the same performance. But live theatre doesn't offer that. Tomorrow night's show will be different, and the next production will give the world something even farther removed. It's not enough to describe the story, or to examine the script. The critic's job is to examine the production, and in this, Brandon fails.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Miami Herald:
The cast is universally solid with special mention for Weiner's experienced Southern fried campaign manager who extols the primacy of loyalty over talent but is perfectly capable of a junkyard brawl and betrayal.

But the show belongs to Duckart who, thanks to Joseph Adler's guidance, drives the play with a frenetic pace and whip-cracking patter even before circumstances ratchet up the stakes.
Adler's direction is as solid as always... He gets his actors to exude performances that somehow draw you in like eavesdroppers who can't walk away.
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
It seems as if GableStage’s brilliant director Joseph Adler has collected a bunch of the bright young South Florida acting talent on one stage, melded them with three terrific veteran performers, found a stimulating play about politics and turned the mixture into one of the area’s best 2009 productions.
Duckhart is on stage almost constantly and his portrayal may well be a break out performance for the young actor. He is so real, so charismatic, that he is totally believable as the young staffer hoping to take himself into the West Wing. Duckhart only recently wowed audiences at Boca’s Caldwell in “The Whipping Man” and in “Torture” at Mosaic – and with this performance in “Farragut” firmly establishes his credentials.
And, wait until you meet Graver, who dominates the scene as the sexually assertive intern who takes on supposedly clever politicos. She is stunning!
Farragut North plays at GableStage through January 24, 2010.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mondays are Dark

The holidays finally caught up to me, so this week's reading list is late. Frankly, the pickings are a little slim, since everyone took the holidays off. Don't forget Mosaic Theatre's Monte Carlo Night on January 16th. It's your chance to play cards with World Series of Poker contestant and Richard Jay Simon, artistic director of Mosaic. Be sure you lose: Richard just got engaged, he's get a nest egg to build! (Congrats to Richard and Dyanni!)

Fresh off the Internets
This just in: Empire Stage has a website. And it looks like a good one.

TIMEly South Florida Productions
Playbill reports that Time Magazine has chosen its top ten plays for the first decade of the 21st century: I've appended where the shows have been done in South Florida:
  1. August: Osage County
  2. Billy Elliot
  3. The Pillowman (GableStage)
  4. Metamorphoses
  5. Boy Gets Girl (GableStage)
  6. Movin' Out (Arsht Center for the Performing Arts)
  7. Comic Potential (Actors' Playhouse)
  8. Doubt (Caldwell Theatre)
  9. Ruined
  10. Wicked (Broward Center, Kravis Center, coming to Arsht Center)
If I've missed any, be sure to let me know.

South Pacific
You have a choice: The Sun-Sentinel digs up a Chicago Tribune story on South Pacific, or the Palm Beach Post supported our local economy by having Hap Erstein cover it. It seems to be that Tally Sessions is with this tour; Tally has worked at Florida Stage and Actors' Playhouse.

Sordid Lives
The Fort Lauderdale Theatre Examiner tells us about the next project at Rising Action Theatre, Sordid Lives. BroadwayWorld also covers the story. Someone should offer a package; tie it in with The Great American Trailerpark Musical at Actor's Playhouse. Call it the "White Trash New Year's Special."

Good Chemistry
BroadwayWorld reports on Caldwell Theatre's production of Chemical Imbalance; A Jekyll and Hyde Play.

New Park for the Play
The Coconut Grove Grapevine reports that Shakespeare Miami will produce its annual production at The Barnacle instead of Peacock Park. The Barnacle was the home of Coconut Grove founder Ralph Middleton Munroe. I wonder if they'll be making use of the home as stage, taking advantage of the two story porch for their production of Taming of the Shrew.

Strung Out
WPTV Channel 5 reports that the Puppetry Arts Center of the Palm Beaches has made its final bow, at least at its current location.

Kick'em When They're Down
The Producer's Perspective asks a question that's actually a pretty good one:
If we know reviews aren't as powerful as they used to be, then why do so many of us use them to decide if we want to transfer a show from Off-Broadway to Broadway, or from Out-Of-Town to Broadway???
Another point raised; patrons not calling for tickets because they assume a well-reviewed show is sold out. Sell outs are rare: you can usually get a ticket.